Better Together: Driving Innovation Through an Engaged Culture
Earlier this year, when I was checking out Level 2 Legal Solutions as a potential employer and perusing the company’s website, I noticed a couple of things that resonated with me: the company’s first core value of “Give a damn” and this quote from a current employee: “We’re not just seen as ‘butts in seats’ here like I have been in other employment. I have always been treated respectfully, which makes me want to give my best.”
A lot of companies say things like this, but I would discover over the following months the tangible actions that Level 2 Legal would take to display these values. For me personally, the good experience began with the care and attention they showed with a more sustainable office environment.
From my first day at L2L, I was impressed with the office’s environmental conservation efforts, primarily in the kitchen area. The company gave me a personal insulated coffee tumbler, and I also noticed there were no single-use plates, bowls, or cutlery. L2L uses only real dishes and silverware and a dishwasher – and it’s not a small outfit. This takes effort and commitment from the company and the employees.
This past summer, in an effort for us to get to know him and each other, our CEO Joey Seeber hosted a series of lunches with six employees at a time at different restaurants. At my lunch I pitched the idea of incorporating more sustainability initiatives into the office, primarily ones that focused on employee health and wellness. It is not every day that you get this kind of access to your CEO, much less know from the results that he was listening.
It’s one thing to send out a five-question survey to employees with a few lines for comments and ask, “What do you want?” It’s something completely different to shut down the office and curate an entire day around brainstorming OUR ideas to move the company forward. But this is what Level 2 Legal just did.
Under the mantra “Better Together,” Level 2 Legal set out to host an “Idea Day” to foster a culture of collaboration and give every employee a platform to submit innovative ideas to improve the company. Our "Idea Day" was based on the concept of “Notes Day” from the company Pixar. In preparation, I read the chapter on “Notes Day” in Creativity, Inc., written by Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull. What intrigued me the most was the company found a way for EVERYONE to voice their opinion on what could make the company better AND provided a forum for complaints. On top of that, Pixar worked really hard on IMPLEMENTING as many of the ideas as feasible that were presented.
Nearly 230 employee-submitted ideas later, Idea Day finally arrived. Before the intense day of brainstorming began, Joey opened the event outlining the “quick win ideas” employees had submitted that could be immediately implemented. One was adding a healthier beverage option (sparkling water) to the sodas that were already being provided. Some other ideas I’d mentioned at the lunch were also incorporated, including adding plants and more standing desks.
In the 1980s, NASA published a clean air study that gave a list of the best plants to purify indoor air environments. L2L is tripling the current plant population, and two species on the plant list are on NASA’s list. The snake and bromeliad plants that are coming will remove toxins out of the air that cause headaches, drowsiness, nose and throat irritation, and increased heart rate. The standing desk stations that employees can either sign up for a time slot or pop over if they’re empty will encouragement movement, lessen back pain, and improve productivity.
Innovation is messy. Idea Day was messy.
But I came out of that day last week feeling heard - and clearer on how my colleagues and I want to help define the company’s culture for our clients and for ourselves.
Where will your company be in 10 years? Will it look the same? You’ve probably thought about it, but what if the company you own or are a part of looks radically different in a decade because you implemented the ideas you have today? And what if your company’s success and culture is in large part attributable to the ideas of its internal stakeholders and their needs and wants? Idea Day looked to answer those questions, and I think Level 2 Legal is well on its way to becoming a Netflix in the legal industry instead of a Blockbuster.
And in the words of Joey Seeber, “Don’t be so afraid to fail that you don’t try.”
Kendra Wiley is an eDiscovery attorney at Level 2 Legal Solutions. Prior to joining L2L, Kendra practiced real estate law and was a sustainability consultant for commercial real estate properties. She earned her Bachelor of Business from the University of North Texas and her JD from Texas Tech University School of Law. Kendra is an advocate for health and wellness, and was appointed as a Champion for the Level 2 Legal Employee Health, Wellness, and Culture Initiative.